Our posting and commenting policy changed on May 27, 2013 so that only those persons who are positively identified by me and post comments or blog posts under their own name will be able to post to the site, effective immediately. The same concept will apply to companies and organizations.
If you have been posting under a pseudonym and would like to change it to your full name or you have been using your full name and have not been upgraded to an account capable of posting to the site please contact me at [email protected] and I will make the necessary changes.
If I do not know you and you wish to post to the site you will need to contact me directly at [email protected] and request permission to post to the site. The test is not whether you agree with me but whether you can make a positive contribution to a community dialog on issues of importance of New Rochelle residents.
There have been a few emails asking questions so let me answer them here.
Why are you doing this?
It was always part of the plan. In fact, I waited longer than I had intended. I believe that the people should "own" their own words.
Two factors impacted the timing.
First, as some folks have noticed we have had several recent and significant spam attacks which have ground the site to a halt and filled the site with spam advertising. That is a function of our software allowing anyone to register and post without prior approval. As the site has grown so have the spam accounts and spam attacks. It has become a lot of work to monitor and disable these accounts.
Second, I have grown tired of people saying they say they "support" the site but are afraid to do so publicly. At this point, after 5 years, if you are still afraid to use your own name on this site then you are never going to overcome that fear and I am no longer willing to oblige that sentiment.
Can you make an exception for me?
A few long-time pseudonymous contributors to this site have asked if I might make an exception for them so that they do not have to use their full name. The answer is "no".
What do you except to happen as a result of this change?
What I expect to happen is what has happened every time I have ratcheted up the requirements to post to the site -- the amount of comments will decline and traffic will decline initially, then it will level off, and eventually it will increase beyond the previous high point as existing contributors come to terms with the new policy and new contributors are attracted and join the site.
I expect the level of discourse to improve and the amount of spam on the site to drop to zero making for an improved reader experience.
I don't like the change!
I could not care less. You are welcome to create your own web site and run it as you see fit. This is my site and I will run it as I think is best.
My long experience tells me that New Rochelle residents are either indifferent and uninvolved with their twin governments or afraid of them. I am a piece of the view expressed in 1914 by John Basil Barnhill (p.34) (and often attributed incorrectly to Thomas Jefferson):
Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.
We have had too much tyranny and not enough liberty for too long. In the case of New Rochelle, this is a tyranny of the mind where genuine differences of opinion are treated as blasphemy or a localized form of treason. That needs to change and this site is committed to being an agent of that change. That change requires that residents stand up and be counted.
While many residents tell me they see Talk of the Sound as an important counterweight to what can often be an oppressive government, I see few who are who are actually willing to put their "John Hancock" on that sentiment. I use that term advisedly. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence took very real risks in signing their names to their words. Their courage inspired others to join the cause and put their NAMES and safety at risk.
Until those who SAY they support Talk of the Sound (and what it stands for) are actually willing to put THEIR names on the line and speak out publicly then New Rochelle will continue to be ruled by a combination of indifference and intimidation.
A final word on political parties, as there appears to be come confusion on this point.
There seems to be the idea out there that I am a Republican. I am not as anyone checking the voter rolls can see.
In my life, I have been registered as a Democrat and as a Republican but concluded I would prefer not be a member of any party.
I grew up in a family of Democrats. My mom's dad was a union carpenter in St. Louis. My dad's dad was an executive with Easter Seals and was involved in the Great Society movement during the Lyndon Johnson's administration. My father worked on John F. Kennedy's 1960 Presidential campaign. My mother ran as a Democrat and served multiple terms as a Village Trustee in Irvington, NY. As a kid, I worked on all of her campaigns. I also worked on the campaign of Congressman Peter Peyser who had been a Republican but switched to Democrat at the time I volunteered for his campaign.
When I came of voting age, I quite naturally registered as a Democrat. I remained a Democrat until 1994. At that time, after living in Chicago for three years, I moved back to New York and sick of what I viewed as a feckless foreign policy under Democrats I registered as a Republican. After a couple of years of that I decided I did not really like either party or parties generally and switched to "non-registered" and have remained "non" ever since.
While I can site many reasons, the mindless voting along party line regardless of the caliber or quality of individual candidates or the merits of a particular issue is as good a reason as any as to why I have remained a "non". While there are aspersions to cast enough on either sides, it is my view that it is our two political parties generally and not any individual political party that is responsible for the decades of corruption, cronyism and malfeasance which has come to define our municipal and school governments in New Rochelle.
I am hardly alone as "non" is the fastest growing category of voter in New Rochelle, edging close to 10,000 of New Rochelle's 43,000 voters.